Kenya, the magic land of wild animals, of stunning sunsets, of wide plains. Large distances you usually travel with tour operators and the organized safari trips, but you might also want to explore by yourself. It is not easy to drive in Africa, and one must know the territory very well before going. But for tourists who come often to Kenya, and know how to move, this could be a choice. Cars are important in big nations like this, because there are many places to visit, things to admire, and safaris will not show everything.
Kenya means wonderful beaches, wild mountains, sunny plains where hundreds animals run chasing each other. Tourists can decide to plan their trip themselves, and find the best itinerary for their needs. This means going on their own, or renting a car with a driver and traveling around with a local guide. In any case, car rentals are the perfect solution.
Roads and traffic in Kenya
From 2015 on, Kenya and Tanzania have both been through sudden changes towards modernity. Dusty country roads, stony paths, old slow railways turned into speed trains, highways and large asphalted streets. New roads are under construction all the time and there are already 63.000 km of urban and regional streets in good conditions. Not all of them are asphalted, but even the dusty or clay ones have lanes, signs, directions that help the drivers on the way.
No problem at all for petrol stations: there are many, and very close one to the other along the way. Remember, though, that the further you go from the towns and cities, the worst gets the situation on the road. You might find: holes, mud, rivers flowing on the lanes and few petrol stations (some closed too!). Make sure you always are equipped with fuel, water and maps if you are planning to go to inner regions.
Documents for car rental in Kenya
In order to rent a car and have the permission to drive it in Kenya you must show:
- identity card
- international driving licence is recommended, though some national licences are also accepted plus a small extra fee
- credit or ATM cards
- the proof of the booking
Some agencies could also ask for a deposit or for extra insurance. But pay attention! Extra insurance for renting a car are not required by the law, for driving, so they might be just a rule of the single agency and you are not forced to accept. You can rent a car in every airport, city or town of Kenya. You can also find car rentals near the big National Parks and tourist places.
The best vehicles to rent are 4×4 jeep cars, SUV cars, land cruisers, which will allow tourists to drive both on paved roads and on wild lands’ dusty roads. Try to never exceed the speed limits (30 to 50 km/h in towns, 80 to 110 km/h on highways) especially if you drive through unknown regions.
Remember: in Kenya you drive on the left lane, since the wheel is on the right, as in Britain. If you do not feel like driving “on the other side” you better hire a driver as you rent the car. Try not to drive after dusk, or at night, especially out of towns. In case the police stops you, be kind and do not give money. If they ask for it, try to take the name of the officer but never provoke him.